basket of vegetables
Food Advocacy,  Food For Better Health

Basics of Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Nutrition is considered to be the process of ingestion, digestion, absorption and metabolism of foods and how nutrients in food perform different functions to keep our body operating.

In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, our bodies require carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

 Read more about these components at 

Water, which makes up about 65% of our bodies, acts as a transport medium for nutrients and waste products.

Water is constantly being lost through digestion, breathing, sweating and urine. It is critical that you replenish your body at regular intervals.

pink chart explaining the functions of nutrients for healthy eating


Although not a nutrient, FIBER plays a key role in keeping nutrients and wastes moving through the body.

 Need to increase your FIBER intake? Go here to find out how… 

Some Nutrition Guidelines

The relationship of nutrients to our overall health is of major concern to health professionals.

I am fascinated by the intricacy of our bodies and how what we eat is crucial to our existence –

hence, why I started this blog.

There are way too many government and private agencies studying and researching nutrition and our health, for me to list here; however, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association joined forces to publish 8 dietary guidelines, for building healthy eating habits.

1. Caloric intake should be appropriate to reach and maintain a health, reasonable body weight.


2. Complex carbohydrates and high fiber foods should be about 55%, or about one-half of our total daily calorie intake.


Nutrition of lean proteins for health eating graphic with Joann's food bites logo3. Recommended dietary intake for fat in adults is 20% to 35% of total calories.  Saturated fat should be less than 10% of total calories.


4. Lean protein intake should be limited to 20% of our total daily calories.

5. Alternative sweeteners may be used with those suffering with diabetes or weight problems.

6. Sodium intake should be limited to 3 grams a day.

7. Alcohol should be consumed only in moderation.

8. A wide variety of foods should be consumed for optimum health.

Despite being adequate, these suggestions are too vague for most people to follow.

What is a “Healthy Diet?”

A healthy diet is one that provides our body with the right amounts of all the essential nutrients, listed above, from a variety of different food sources and helps us maintain a healthy body weight.

Most of us have a difficult time putting nutrition advice into practice because much of the information comes from public relations firms and food companies’ advertising nonsense.

 “Lucky Charms…there magically delicious?” 

Despite research suggestions of – eat more plant foods and less of animal and processed foods – many feel confused about what they should be eating.

What might be considered a “normal” metabolism for you, may not be good for me.

A healthy diet interacts with our genetics, as well as our cultural, economic and geographical factors.

The longest-lived populations, Asia and Mediterranean, traditionally follow a plant-based diet, which are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber.

First Food Guide
First Food Guide

When consumed together, these healthy eating habits prevent most chronic diseases, such as heart disease.

Since 1916, pressure from food companies have led the United States government officials and nutrition professionals to produce “national recommendations” for a healthy diet.

Beginning with How to Select Food, published by the Department of Agriculture in 1917, our federal government has tried to establish guidance for healthy food choices.

Till the early 1950’s, government guidelines favored a “eat less” policy, including the published “Basic Food Guide,” which introduced Americans to “serving sizes,” in proportion to preventing nutrient deficiencies.

Post World War II, America shifted from a plant-based diet to more convenience foods.

Then in 1968, the CBS documentary, Hunger in America aired.

A propaganda, misleading investigation of malnutrition, exploiting a segmented part of America, low-income, immigrant households.

However, it was accurate to suggest, “the government is more interested in protecting the agricultural industry, rather than public health.”


The public was outraged!

The Senate responded by appointing George McGovern, a Democrat from South Dakota, to chair the Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, which would lead the “war on hunger among the nations’s young, old and poor.” (Food Politics, 38).

Food and Public Policy

Many of the nutritional problems in America, including obesity, can be partially traced to the food industry’s pressure to EAT MORE in order to generate sales and increase income.

There is a fundamental correlation between American politics and the health of the nation.

Genetics, freedom of choice and flavor preference, all factor in our food choices; however, it is food companies’ responsibility to induce you to buy more food, not less.

The U.S. food supply provides close to 4,000 calories a day per capita, more than twice our caloric needs.

Is obesity in America strictly a matter of personal responsibility, or does the food marketing environment and public policy have something to do with it?

Tell me what you think….


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